JAZZ RECORDINGS OF THE 20TH CENTURY
By Mike Zwerin
PARIS, 7 January 2000 - Here are some essential jazz
albums as of the end of the 20th century. It is meant to be a good
start more than a complete list - the best at their most consistent
and communicative best. Do not leave for Mars without them.
names are of the original individual LPs - sometimes collections of
78s to begin with - as reissued more or less intact on CD.
Multiple-box compilations can get flabby filling out extra time;
recommended box sets are muscular.
Lester Young once said
that if he were the leader of a big band he would hire Billie Holiday
and Frank Sinatra as his vocalists and in deference to The President
they are the only vocalists on the list. (Essential recordings
requiring specific acquired culture to appreciate are omitted.)
gets complicated. Even reissues are reissued these days. Names and
programming evolve along the way and between countries. And albums go
out of print. The French are excellent collectors of this music; the
two French compilations cited are unusual if not unique and worth a
For alternatives and more detail consult the web
LOUIS ARMSTRONG - "Hot Fives
and Sevens" (JSP/4CDs)
COUNT BASIE - "Atomic Basie"
CLIFFORD BROWN "...With Strings"
ORNETTE COLEMAN - "The Shape of Jazz To Come"
JOHN COLTRANE - "The Classic Quartet -
Complete Impulse! Studio Recordings (Impulse!/8CDs)
DAVIS - "Porgy and Bess," with Gil Evans orchestra
MILES DAVIS - "Kind Of Blue'" (Columbia)
DAVIS - "Tutu" (WB)
DUKE ELLINGTON ORCHESTRA - "Such
Sweet Thunder" (Columbia)
"DUKE ELLINGTON &
JOHN COLTRANE" (Impulse!)
MINGUS/MAX ROACH - "Money Jungle" (Blue Note)
EVANS - "Waltz For Debby" (OJC, Original Jazz Classics)
GETZ - "Serenity" (Verve)
BILLIE HOLIDAY with
LESTER YOUNG - "Lady Day & Pres, 1937-1941" (Fremeaux,
KEITH JARRETT STANDARDS TRIO -"Tribute"
CHARLES MINGUS - "Mingus Ah Um"
THELONIOUS MONK - "Plays Duke Ellington"
THELONIOUS MONK - "Alone In San Francisco"
MODERN JAZZ QUARTET - "Dedicated To Connie"
LEE MORGAN - "The Best Of..."
"THE BEST OF THE GERRY MULLIGAN QUARTET WITH
CHET BAKER" (Blue Note)
CHARLIE PARKER, "Yardbird
Suite, The Ultimate Charlie Parker Collection" (Rhino/2CDs).
POWELL - "Jazz Giant" (Verve)
DJANGO REINHARDT - "L'Essentiel"
SONNY ROLLINS - "The Bridge"
ZOOT SIMS - "For Lady Day" (Pablo)
SINATRA - "...At The Sands," with Count Basie and his
Orchestra, arranged and conducted by Quincy Jones (Reprise)
TATUM - "The Standard Sessions, 1935-1943" (Storyville/2CDs)
REPORT - "Heavy Weather" (Columbia)
BEN WEBSTER - "Music
For Loving," with strings (Verve)
LESTER YOUNG - "...Trio,"
with Nat "King" Cole (Verve)
edited version of this article first appeared in the International
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